Gingery Kale Salad
OH! This salad makes me want to put on my glad rags and do a little jig.
It’s one of my top food revelations of 2012, mostly because its main ingredient has been hiding right under my nose! Classic Dutch cuisine is based on farmhouse staples: root vegetables, cooked greens and meat. Kale (boerenkool) is boiled, mashed with bits of bacon into potato puree, and called stamppot. I’ve never gotten into the stamppot groove because I feel so sorry for the greens, boiled and blitzed into oblivion. Kale deserves a bit more appreciation – it didn’t pick up the moniker “Queen of Greens” for nothing.
This fresh salad is the perfect antidote to autumn blues. It’s very green and very nourishing and very very addictive. I’ve kept a stash in my refrigerator for the last two weeks, and I don’t see this run letting up anytime soon. It’s endlessly riffable and will swallow up whatever bits and bobs you add. Kale is so amiable. And SO redonkulously good for you! Along with fiber and minerals, it’s an antioxidant overdose — vitamin A and C are present in full force and so is vitamin K, which is a powerful anti-cancer warrior.
GINGERY KALE SALAD
1 large bunch kale (or 1 large bag pre-cut boerenkool, in Holland)
extra virgin olive oil
bits and bobs
1 large sweet potato
1 handful each of sunflower and pumpkin seeds
1 juicy orange
1/2 block feta or goat cheese
1 handful radishes
anything else you please – try pomegranate seeds, apple, crispy pan-fried tofu cubes, julienned raw beets, cucumber, fresh mint
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 clove garlic
1″ knob ginger
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste
Wash the kale, then strip the woody stems. Cut the remaining leaves fairly finely.
Vigorously massage the kale with the lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. This is an anti-salad — you want it to wilt. Unlike lettuce, it will keep for days after you dress it and toss it! So consider it free therapy and unleash your stress on those stiff green ribbons, rubbing them between your hands for several minutes until their colour darkens and they soften. (Be forewarned that any existing paper cuts shall sting like the devil upon contact with the lemon juice-salt elixir.)
Roast the whole unpeeled sweet potato in a very hot oven until it’s soft, but not falling apart. Slip off the skin and discard, then cube the flesh. Roast the sunflower and pumpkin seeds in a skillet over medium heat until light brown and fragrant. Dice the avocado and thinly slice the radishes. Peel and segment the orange. Crumble the feta/goat cheese. Toss everything together.
Mince the garlic and the peeled ginger finely. Whisk with the mustard and white wine vinegar, then continue whisking while dribbling in the olive oil. Season with the salt and pepper, and pour over the salad while smacking your lips loudly in anticipation. Toss well and serve.
All hail the Queen of Greens!